Banker sues Yahoo Singapore for identity of imposter

[UPDATE] Managing director of HSBC's private banking arm alleges fraudster made posts on Yahoo's site disparaging Singaporeans, portraying him in bad light.

A managing director at HSBC has sued Yahoo Singapore to obtain the identity of a user who allegedly impersonated him and made offensive remarks about Singaporeans on Yahoo's site.

Sandeep Sharma, managing director of HSBC's private banking arm, asked Singapore's High Court to order Yahoo Asia-Pacific to reveal details, including the identity of the person claiming to be Sharma and posting under the pseudonym "Sandeep", Bloomberg reported on Tuesday.

The imposter made three posts on Yahoo's Web site criticizing Singaporeans including calling them "highly incompetent" and saying foreigners were Singapore's future, according to the lawsuit filed on Aug. 8, the eve of Singapore's national day

The banker, who had moved to Singapore from India in 2007, also filed a police report last month on the same matter. He added in the lawsuit the posts by "Sandeep" were intended to portray him as an "arrogant, bigoted and narrow-minded person who is prejudiced against Singaporeans in general".

"HSBC and Sharma are victims of this callous post by a person who evidently is happy to hide behind the screen of anonymity. Yahoo can help in putting things right," said the bank's legal adviser, Jerome Robert, in an e-mail to Yahoo. The search engine replied HSBC's e-mail and cited in the lawsuit it could not reveal data related to its users unless there was a court or police order.

Sharma's lawsuit comes on the heels of the country's prime minister Lee Hsien Loong's national day speech, in which he highlighted Singaporeans had to remain confident and open to new immigrants and foreign workers whom he said will strengthen and bring the country to greater heights.

When contacted, a HSBC spokesperson told ZDNet Asia that Sharma had "nothing further to add", while a Yahoo spokesperson said: "As this is a legal matter pending before the court, afraid we cannot provide any comment at this stage."